Natural Resources Conservation Service in Idaho

Originally established by Congress in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has expanded to become a conservation leader for all natural resources, ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges.

NRCS offers voluntary programs, administered under the Conservation Title of the federal Farm Bill, to eligible landowners and agricultural producers. These programs provide financial and technical assistance to help protect and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner.  Programs are available to restore degraded habitat, improve management of existing habitat, and protect habitat in long-term contracts or conservation easements.

The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service provides both technical assistance and financial assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed.

The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property.  This program provides technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetlands restoration efforts.  The goal is to achieve the greatest wetlands functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program.  This program offers landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.

The Grassland Reserve Program is an easement program that protects grazing lands from conversion to non-agricultural uses. Landowners can graze easement land and grow forage crops but the land is protected from being divided into small parcels by development. Applicants must have clear title and legal access to the land. A grazing management plan is required for participants.

Learn more about these and other programs here.

By participating in the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership, NRCS gains access to science and expertise on Idaho birds and habitats most in need of conservation and management. This information allows NRCS to prioritize and focus our technical assistance and financial resources where they will do the most good. Funding provided through Farm Bill programs helps achieve IBCP’s goal to bring partners together to conserve intact landscapes of high value to priority species, and restore and enhance priority habitats to support sustainable populations of birds on private and public lands.  You can learn more about NRCS program in idea and conservation opportunities that may be available to you by visiting our NRCS Idaho State web page.